My father would yell to me every Sunday morning, "Pierre, it's time to get up for church". I would find my way out of bed and come downstairs usually more excited about what my mom had ready for breakfast than for church, religion, God and especially Sunday school. After years of services, sacraments, and religious holidays I still never had a meaningful relationship with God and my life did not emulate that of Christ.
While in college my sister gave me a One-Year Bible. On a daily basis I started reading the scriptures with the goal of finishing the entire Bible in 365 days. I felt drawn in by the book and looked forward to reading it each morning. I was interested in knowing what this famous book had to say about daily life and eternity. I especially enjoyed the Proverbs because they were a quick source of practical wisdom and insight into life. Unfortunately, my schedule in college became busy and I put away the Bible for some time with hopes of later picking it up and completing it.
After graduation my job hunt began and I was seeking a job that would allow me to travel to other countries and use my ability to speak French. Like reading the Bible, this was just another goal of mine that I was compelled to reach. In April of 1998 I joined a pharmaceutical company and a few months later was headed on assignment to Paris, France. While in France I reached my goal of reading the Bible in its entirety. The Bible was convicting and made evident my sinful nature. For example, the Bible says "the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God". (Ephesians 5:19-21). Convicted of my sin, I started going to church on Sundays at Notre Dame and tried to progressively change my ways. I knew that certain things in my life did not honor God, yet I continually failed in trying to live up to these convictions.
In November of 1998 I was flying home from Paris to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family. In a row of three seats there sat a man to my left with one vacant seat between us. During the flight we began to speak and he mentioned that he was a believer in Christ. Come to find out, he was not only a Christian he was a pastor returning from missionary work in Portugal. Although I proclaimed to be a Christian, he realized that my lifestyle was not one that honored Christ. Throughout the eight-hour flight he spoke to me about Jesus, the many promises of God and the power for living provided by the Holy Spirit. One verse that he repeated to me several times was "If you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) I thought I already believed in Christ, I grew up in church hearing about Jesus' death and resurrection, surely I believed. The pastor said that there are 18 inches between heaven and hell - the distance between your head and your heart! I realized that I had never truly trusted Christ. He wasn't the Lord of my life, I was. This caused a crisis of belief. Could I really trust Christ alone? What would it mean to my relationships, lifestyle and goals? Was Jesus really faithful and worthy to be trusted? Did Christ really die on the cross for my sins?
I stopped our conversation to go to the bathroom. In that bathroom although by myself, I felt a struggle going on in my heart and mind. Something was telling me to ignore this man, go to sleep or even find a new seat for the remainder of the flight. The other side of my heart realized that if Jesus Christ really is the Lord of heaven and earth I needed to submit my heart, life and will to his authority. I returned to my seat.
After some time of weighing out what it would mean to give my life to Christ something happened. A charge of supernatural power rushed through my body. It was as if someone removed blinders from my eyes, a weight from my back and cleansed my heart. I was a new man. I knew at that moment, that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he died for my sins on the cross and rose again. It was all true! I later came to understand that I was not able to live the Christian life victoriously without the Holy Spirit himself abiding within me. I couldn't gain eternal life by going to church or being a "good person" but only by trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Since that time, God has changed my heart's desires. I gained power over my past ways and enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God is faithful. He took away my guilt and condemnation and replaced it with peace, love and joy!
I enjoy letting others know how they can be saved from their sins and enjoy a new life in Christ. The Bible says that, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:23) It also states that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
(2 Corinthians 5:17) Likewise, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3) Today you can enjoy a new spiritual life by repenting of your sins and receiving Jesus Christ. Would you like God to give you a clean slate today? I invite you to pray right now with all your heart to repent of your sins and trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Below is a prayer you may choose to pray.
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner in need of your mercy and grace. I believe you died for my sins on the cross so that my sins can be forgiven. I believe you rose from the dead to provide new life on this earth and to give us the assurance of eternal life. Forgive me my sins. Wash me clean by the blood you shed for me. Give me new life and the assurance of eternity with you. Fill me with your precious Holy Spirit and empower me to live for you. Help me to know you more and grow in my faith. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
If you enjoyed my testimony, you will also enjoy my book, Born to Grow.